2 Aug 2012
Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham has made the startling allegation that coal seam gas giant Santos has been running an internet propaganda campaign against his so-called Frac-Finding tour, an investigation into coal seam gas practices that has taken him 5000 kilometres across 11 states in the past four weeks.
Buckingham told the Diary from Washington DC that two Twitter accounts, @TrueHutton and @fictionfindingtour, along with a website, fictionfindingtour.com, have not simply been unrelentingly satirising his and fellow traveller Drew Hutton’s tour, but have resorted to below-the-belt personal jibes.
”There’s certainly been an extraordinary effort by Santos to undermine our efforts to share information with the community back in Australia.” Buckingham said. ”The fake Hutton twitter account uses his face, and refers to Libby, his wife. The accounts have accused me of ‘more lying’. It’s crude, it’s personal and it’s clumsy.” Buckingham said a Santos staff member approached Hutton out of the blue at a rally this week, and, an hour later, approached Buckingham at Union Station as he was about to board the train. ”[The employee] walked up to me, introduced himself, and I asked ‘What are you doing here?’ And he said ‘Having a look at gas.’ It was a bit awkward and weird, that he undertook an effort to intercept us and make his presence felt.”
A while later, one of the trolling accounts tweeted ”300million people in the US, 1500 here in DC”. Buckingham believes the ”here” in that sentence points to Santos as the tweeter.
”I’m prepared to say those two accounts are being run by Santos and it’d be an extraordinary coincidence if someone else associated with the Australian gas industry was in DC that day. I call on them to refute my allegations that they had anything to do with it.”
We called Santos directly: ”We absolutely refute we have anything to do with those accounts … We’re a top 20 Australian company. We don’t mess about with fake Twitter accounts.” As for their presence in the States, a Santos spokesman said the staff member was on a regular business trip with two colleagues.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-diary/tram-jammed-on-road-to-nowhere-20120801-23fp5.html#ixzz22LpVy1L2